In this video, I interview Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald of Animal Planet’s “Emergency Vets”, as he takes me through a free traveling exhibit on the human: animal bond, “Animal Connections”. Watch the video for a sneak peek, then find some kids that love animals and bring them to the exhibit while it is still in Chicago through August 9th.
It was fitting to have a tour from a renowned veterinarian since the exhibit highlights the role that veterinarians play in that bond between people and animals. “Animal Connections” is a huge big-rig truck that parks and unfurls into a 1,000 square foot exhibit with sections on pets, farm animals, wildlife, and a veterinary clinic.
Personally, I think the truck is “inspiration on wheels”. More than half of all households in the U.S. have pets and wildlife is all around us (even if we are in a bustling city). Animals are a great hook to get kids inspired to think scientifically, develop empathy, stay in school, and pursue caring careers.
My two favorite parts of the exhibit are the “Tower of Poison” and the virtual exam. The poisons are so important because there are many common household items that are toxic to pets and I personally know people that have lost beloved fur babies because their animal got a hold of something as seemingly harmless as a piece of gum that contained xylitol (an artificial sweetener). The virtual exam is a really cool piece of technology – an exam table that is actually a touch-screen with a computerized pet to examine in a “choose-your-own-adventure” sort of way. Plus, after teaching people about animals for eighteen years, I love that the virtual rectal thermometer could still make me giggle.
The exhibit contains a lift and is fully accessible.
Find some kids to inspire and check out the FREE exhibit while it is on tour in Chicago through August 9th. The current tour locations and dates can be found here: http://animalconnections.com/chicago
“Animal Connections” is a Smithsonian Institute Traveling Exhibit made possible by Zoetis and AVMA.
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